Changes in business needs may require expansion of data fields that are central to the application. Such fields exist in many different locations throughout the application and used by many programs. Field expansion is complex and requires in-depth impact analysis and system-wide modifications.
MOST has done a variety of field expansion projects. Changing car registration numbers or increasing the range of valid bank's branch/phone numbers are but a few examples. Key to MOST's methodology is tools that perform an assessment and in-depth impact analysis of all entities prior to application changes.
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The OnTarget tool is used to automatically detect the application/s components that are directly or indirectly impacted by the required change and may require modification.
The process starts with the identification of "anchors" – the initial fields that trigger the impact analysis.
The analysis process systematically builds impact chains across all components of the application(s) to identify any software component that may be impacted by the required change. Such components include programs, routine parameters, copybooks, JCL, screens, files and tables.
The OnTarget tool builds a repository containing a tree with all the impacted components.
Initial results are processed using the OnTarget user interface to clean "false positive" results in order to create accurate chains. The process of cleaning the repository is recursive.
OnTarget converts the requisite application fields automatically and generates programs to migrate the data to the new format.
The following diagram illustrates the field expansion process: